Sequence reducers eke out DOC bandwidth

The Department of Conservation is squeezing more out of its 64kbit/s satellite links to three remote field offices thanks to some SR (sequence reducer) devices from vendor Peribit Networks.

The Department of Conservation is squeezing more out of its 64Kbit/s satellite links to three remote field offices thanks to some SR (sequence reducer) devices from vendor Peribit Networks.

"The devices go into learning mode and study network traffic patterns," says DOC technology and outsource services manager Ken Walker.

The result, he says, is that the satellite links to the department's stations on the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and at Aniwaniwa, on the shores of Lake Waikaremoana, are able to handle increased traffic without increasing the bandwidth.

The function performed by the SR devices bought by DOC is MSR (molecular sequence reduction) and is based on that performed by molecular scientists in reducing redundancy in DNA sequencing.

Peribit says it uses the same algorithms which spot repetitive data patterns in DNA sequencing to find and eliminate similar redundancy in packets passing through a WAN, with the result that throughput can be made far more efficient.

Walker says the business case was made when the Chatham, Great Barrier and Aniwaniwa sites, which have 11, 16 and 22 staff respectively, were facing an upgrade from 64kbit/s on the satellite link to 128kbit/s.

"They're very expensive, low-bandwidth links and to increase the bandwidth to 128kbit/s would have cost $1000 a month per site, or $36,000 a year."

Instead, DOC chose to lease four devices, one for each remote site and one at DOC headquarters, for $1200 a month.

The devices were activated three weeks ago and Walker says they can be turned on and off for certain types of traffic, depending on what the user wants.

"We've got it for what we think it should be doing; that is, http and x400."

The devices come with a management interface that tells how much the data redundancy is being reduced and Walker says on average it's 44% to 70%, though it's gone as high as 94%.

Staff at the three sites are now receiving email and DOC's intranet-delivered, browser-based applications better than before, he says, and network monitoring traffic is also travelling more freely.

Even 64kbit/s was a vast improvement on the previous data facilities at the sites, he says.

"They've come out of the dark ages. A year ago it was still dial-up to the server, with 9.6kbit/s if you were lucky, sometimes 4.2kbit/s."

The technology, based on radio transmitted telephone signals and with three dial-up lines at each site, was replaced with satellite, allowing 64kbit/s, but at a high price.

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